Monday, February 19, 2007

Newbury Racecourse bridge

I understand that a decision by West Berkshire Council is imminent about the Newbury Racecourse proposal of a bridge at the eastern end of the racecourse.

I hope that Newbury Town Council's decision to object to this proposal is vindicated by West Berkshire Council. I have set out below my previous letter to the Newbury Weekly News explaining the decision of the Town Council:

Newbury Town Council’s objection, (proposed by myself) to the Racecourse's proposal for a bridge opening onto Hambridge road (NWN Front page last week) deserves further explanation.

Resolution, or even lessening, of Race day traffic issues would, of course, be fantastic news for residents of, and drivers in, Newbury. The bridge planning application states that recommended changes to the Hambridge road/A4 interchange will reduce projected 2009 race day traffic queues from an average of 235 (with no changes) to 147, while accommodating the exit from the racecourse of what was estimated by the developers’ spokesperson as around 2,750 extra cars in two hours.

Unfortunately, the bridge proposal, as it currently stands, does not sufficiently articulate how this miracle will occur. Despite otherwise being thorough,the Transport Assessment does not give absolute traffic numbers, only percentages and ratios, and does not quantify the precise projected effect of the traffic improvements which the Hambridge road/A4 interchange adjustments are supposed to achieve. Specifically, the planning application does absolutely nothing to address the likely longer traffic queues on the A4, from the Robin Hood roundabout up to the approach to the Hambridge road/A4 interchange. That is a major concern, especially where the A4 goes from two lanes to one. 2007 has 30 race days scheduled, 16 of which are on weekdays.

So, raceday traffic is hugely significant.There are many drivers who spend around half an hour every day sitting in queues on the A4 and Hambridge road. I could not look those drivers in the eye and say that the Racecourse bridge proposal will improve traffic flows, as stated by the applicants, without much more comprehensive proof.

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